PHOTO: Double points this week means double drama. We like that. (Leif Tillotson photo)
-by Justin St. Louis
I like the Mid-Season Championships for a bunch of reasons.
First, Double Points = Double Drama. I try to convince myself every year that it’s just another race, and I think the drivers all do, too, but we all know that we’re lying to ourselves. John Donahue is 30 points ahead entering tonight’s Late Model show at Thunder Road, and Adam Pierson is 39 ahead in the Modifieds at Bear Ridge on Saturday. One bad night could mean they’re playing catch-up for the rest of the year.
I just spoke with Alex Whitcomb, who’s done some work here in the past at VMM and is racing a Street Stock tonight, and he’s right: Because everyone is so on-edge about the double points thing, there’s a better chance that everyone will crash tonight than the chance that no one will crash at all. That makes it kinda fun.
Second, Thunder Road has been doing wacky things with its lap counts every now and then over the last few years, and tonight’s Late Model race is 75 laps, or, one-and-a-half times the distance of a regular race. That extra 25 laps makes a big time difference between the Haves and Have-Nots.
Third, it means we’re halfway through the year, which means my long winter’s nap is closer to me than it is far away. I really need that nap.
Fourth, I guess that as long as it’s not raining, I like any race. Sky’s blue today.
There are a bunch of races I’d like to get to see this weekend, but there simply aren’t enough me’s to get to them. I plan to be up to my usual Thunder Road-Bear Ridge-Devil’s Bowl grind, but I’m also going to TRY to squeeze in part of a day at the New England Forest Rally in New Hampshire and/or Maine (we’ll see where and when we end up), and maybe Friday’s K&N Pro Series East race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway if there’s time.
I’d like to be at Canaan Fair Speedway on Saturday for “Ricky’s Race For Kids” for the Valenti Modified Racing Series, in part because it’s for a good cause — the David’s House charity at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, N.H. — and also in part because it’s the biggest event in the MRS organization’s history, with a $36,000 purse and all kinds of promotions and giveaways and stuff. Sounds like a good time.
I’d like to see the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour at NHMS on Saturday, too, because it’s one of the best shows on asphalt. The Whelen/NHMS and Valenti/Canaan double would be a pretty great — and very do-able — day of racing for any short track nut.
The NASCAR traffic blunder that was last weekend’s race at Kentucky reminded me of how much I’ve disliked the annual drive across New England on Route 2 from Burlington to Oxford Plains Speedway’s TD Bank 250.
BUT! I’ve been assured by a few folks that the paving and rebuilding projects in New Hampshire and Maine that were started during the Roosevelt Administration — Teddy’s — are finished and it’s smooth sailing, so that’s a major headache gone. Great news.
The only potential pitfalls are projects along Route 2 in Marshfield and Danville, here in Vermont. Plan accordingly, friends.
Every day I’m shufflin’.
Hi, ESPN? Yeah hi, this is Justin calling. So, I watched your ESPY Awards last nigh…
Yes, I saw Justin Beiber was there. He looked ni…
He is pretty good. I like that “Baby, baby, baby” song, too.
So, listen, I was wonderi…
Mhmm… Yeah, I can’t believe he’s already seventee…
Okay, so anyway, um, I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but Jimmie Johnson deserves more than a snub for his five consecutive NASCAR championsh…
Hmm? Yes, I’m aware of Dirk Nowitzki. Did you know that it took him thirteen years to win a title? Jimmie Johnson has won five titles in nine yea…
I’m sorry, he won what award? Best Driver? Oh, well, then that’s fine. Carry on.
NASCAR’s list of the Top 10 K&N Pro Series East drivers made me chuckle.
Yes, Andy Santerre deserves to be No. 1, there’s no question. Anyone that wins four-straight championships deserves to be honored.
As a Vermonter I’m proud that Jamie Aube was put on the list, and there’s no doubt in my mind or anyone else’s that Kelly Moore, Brad Leighton, or most of the rest of the drivers on that list deserve to be there.
But Joey Logano and Ryan Truex? Come on.
Truex ran a total of 22 races in the series, and Logano just 13. Sure, they won championships, but they also drove for Sprint Cup Series teams, racing against guys like Jeff Anton, Scott Bouley, and Todd Peck. Try convincing me that Dion Ciccarelli was capable of competing against cars fielded by Michael Waltrip Racing or Joe Gibbs Racing at, say, New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
What about Dave Dion or Mike Olsen or Matt Kobyluck, each a champion of the series? Olsen twice. For crying out loud, Kobyluck and Dion have more wins than Logano has starts.
Honestly, Tracy Gordon, Mike Rowe, Jerry Marquis and Mike Johnson put up numbers comparable or better than Truex’s and Logano’s.
D.J. Kennington won in his only American-Canadian Tour start. That doesn’t make him one of the greatest drivers to turn a lap in that series.
Went up and checked out Brian Hoar’s ride for the Pro All Stars Series event on Oxford 250 weekend.
It looks exactly like the ACT car he raced at New Smyrna Speedway back in February. That’s because it is. The tires say Hoosier on them, though, and that’s a little odd. Try to pick out of this picture which car is the PASS ride and which car is the ACT ride.
As mentioned, we’re pretty busy around here this week. I apologize, but there’s just not enough time at the moment for the pages-long results and schedule sections for this week’s “Juice.”
It’s a cop-out, you’re right.
Chris Donnelly won a lot last weekend. Again. Mike Wells pulled off a huge upset at Airborne, Brian Hoar and Chris Pasteryak won their respective ACT and MRS races, and Lonnie Sommerville and Gary Smith each scored their first career PASS North victories.
Also, congratulations to 14 year-old Jordan Fornwalt on his big win, 16 year-old Bobby Hackel on his, and 163 year-old ‘Super Joe’ Fecteau on his. Good kids, bright futures ahead of them.
Hey, if you want more reading, pick up a copy of The Barre-Montpelier (Vt.) Times Argus today and The Burlington (Vt.) Free Press on Friday. And don’t forget to tune into WDEV Radio tonight — 96.1 and 96.5 FM or 550 AM — for the Mid-Season Championships from Thunder Road. Steve Longchamp and yours truly with the call.
See you at the races, folks.
Oh, and the PASS car was the one on the left.